urban institute nonprofit social and economic policy research

Karen E. Smith

Karen E. Smith

Senior Fellow

"I am interested in understanding the short- and long-term distributional effects of demographic shifts and policy changes on family well-being. I use microsimulation models to estimate the likely effects of policy reforms, particularly regarding Social Security, pensions, savings, and retirement, on Government budgets and family income. These models are useful tools for informing policy makers of the distributional consequences of policy reforms."

Karen Smith's main area of expertise is the design and implementation of micro-simulation models in a social policy environment. Over the last 25 years, she has developed micro-simulation models for Social Security, pensions, taxation, wealth and savings, labor-supply, charitable giving, health expenditure, student aid, and welfare reform. Smith has played a lead role in the development of the Social Security Administration's Modeling Income in the Near Term (MINT) micro-simulation model, the Urban Institute's Dynamic Simulation of Income (DYNASIM) micro-simulation model, and the Social Security Administration's Policy Simulation Model (POLISIM).

Her recent work includes estimating the income and asset accumulation patterns of the adult population, analyzing the retirement decision, evaluating the effect of disability on earnings and mortality, and using statistical matching to impute earnings, taxes, and spouse characteristics. She has extensively analyzed asset accumulation and spend-down on a variety of cross-sectional and longitudinal data sets.

B.A., Computer Science and Economics, University of Michigan

Areas of expertise

Employment, earnings, retirement, pensions, wealth, microsimulation, data (SIPP, CPS, PUMS, HRS, PSID, SCF, others)

Selected Publications from Karen E. Smith

  • Retirement Security and the Stock Market Crash: What Are the Possible Outcomes?
  • The Disappearing Defined Benefit Pension and Its Potential Impact on the Retirement Incomes of Boomers
  • Publications by topic:
    Economic Well-being
    Long-term Care
    Tax Policy
    Tax Distribution and Economic Trends
    Health Statistics
    Other Data

    See all publications by Karen E. Smith

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